Buying your first home is exciting. Education helps you to set the right expectations which can make the difference between a difficult process and an enjoyable. If you follow these steps before you start looking you can stay focused on the excitement and not get caught up in details, surprises and aggrevations.
1. Educate yourself. Knowing and understanding the process of buying a home in Seattle can help every step of the process go smoothly. It can also make a big difference in whether or not your offer is accepted on your dream home. (You can start with our blog post on understanding real estate terms.)
2. Find the best realtor for you. This is the most important step, with the right agent you will find a support system who helps you and meets your needs not only when you make an offer but all along the way. Do your research, read reviews, find a realtor who is an expert in the area you are looking. (We have several blog posts about how to find the right realtor, here, and here.)
3. Get Pre-Approved for a mortgage- Seattle's hot market makes it necessary to have pre-approval before you start looking. Buyers will take your offer more seriously and you will have a firm grasp on what you can afford. It also takes the guess work out of whether or not you will qualify when the right home comes. If you aren’t pre-approved you could lose valuable time when you find your dream home. (You can read our article here about how to get Pre-Approved.)
4. Know your budget-it is easy to get caught up in the moment when you find a house you love. Knowing exactly what you can afford with mortgage, utiities, property taxes, etc. will ensure you are happy and financially secure in your purchase.
5. Define what you really want in a neighborhood before you start. Take the time to look at neighborhoods you are considering, have lunch or dinner there, take a walk or drive around, talk to people to make sure it is exactly where you want to live. Make a list of what you are looking for in your future neighborhood, your realtor may know of other ones for you to consider.
6. Be realistic about your have-to-haves, wants and compromises. It is rare to find a home that offers you everything you are looking for. Understanding that compromises may be necessary and knowing what those are ahead of time can make the process much easier, it can also help you avoid disappointments.
7. Plan for the next 10 years. What fits you right this moment may not be what you need in a few years, so think about changes that you may experience over the next ten years, will you be getting married, having children, taking in your parents, etc. when you look ahead and buy for your future you are more likely to be happy with your home purchase.
8. Understand that finding the right home takes time. Set realistic expectations and know that finding the right home can sometimes take months so don't get discouraged.
9. Understand the Seattle market. The market in Seattle is one of the top in the nation so be ready to act quickly so you don’t lose the house of your dreams. If you find a home you love are you ready to offer over the asking price or to concede on certain things in order to get the house. Looking at all the scenarios ahead of time will help ensure you are not making emotional or knee-jerk reactions when the time comes to make an offer.
10. If you are looking at condos with HOA’s know what due diligence you need to do before you make an offer, and no matter how much you love the condo, don’t compromise on the due diligence, it could cost you emotionally or financially in the long run. (You can read about due diligence in our blog post here.)
The Warmack Group has years of experience helping first time buyers find the right homes for them. We know the neighborhoods of Seattle and the demands the market. We understand what you are going through as you search for your first home and are always there to help guide you through to moving in, not just for the offer. Contact us so we can help you define what you are looking for, make suggestions on neighborhoods if you need them, and to start looking.
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